Eva McCall Hamilton (1871-1948)
Like so many other pioneer female lawmakers, Eva McCall Hamilton was a teacher. Born in the town of Memphis, Michigan her Scottish/English parents saw that she was well educated for her era, and she graduated from "normal school," as teaching-training institutions then were called.
She also was an activist for women's right to vote, and according to archives in the Michigan Senate, the governor wrote her in 1912, "I think no one has done better work for the cause than you." She had an uncle in the Michigan Senate, Thomas McCall, which helped her to network. She did not profit from using his name, however, as she called herself "Eva M. Hamilton."
The political skills she learned in lobbying for the vote served her well four years later, when Michigan women won the vote and she began to prepare for her 1920 campaign. A Republican elected from Grand Rapids, she championed legal reforms for women and children – but a man defeated Hamilton for the party's nomination at the next election cycle. She served only from 1921-23.
She continued to be active in Grand Rapids civic life, however, until dying on January 28, 1948.
Image credit: Michigan State Senate.